Bart Scott: Let Rex Ryan run the show for Falcons

Bart Scott considers Rex Ryan a friend, although Scott experienced some "tough love" while playing under Ryan with both the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.

One thing the former Pro Bowl linebacker appreciated about Ryan was how candid his ex-coach was about pretty much everything.

"He's brutally honest, but he also lets you know that he has your back," said Scott, now an analyst for CBS. "I mean he was able to come to me and say, 'Hey man, we need you to take a pay cut and you're my guy, so I need to come to you first before I go to L.T. (LaDainian Tomlinson) or Calvin Pace. And if you can't take the cut for me, I'm going to have to make some decisions.' He has the ability to be your friend but also understand that this is a business."

Scott believes Ryan would make a smart business decision by joining the Atlanta Falcons, if team owner Arthur Blank extends an offer. Ryan is believed to be Blank's favorite among a list of head-coaching candidates that also includes Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, former Bills coach Doug Marrone, Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Quinn is thought to be near the top of the list with Ryan. Austin and Bowles are scheduled to meet with the Falcons owner over the next two days after Blank had to postpone interviews following the death of his mother.

Although Ryan is getting looks from the 49ers and Bills, Scott firmly believes those jobs don't measure up to the Falcons.

"I think the Falcons are the best situation for Rex to go into," Scott said. "Come on, you're talking about fixing the defense. I'm sure people see how Matt Ryan has played. He hasn't had the defense to get him the ball back.

"Rex Ryan is a head coach/defensive coordinator. Let Rex run the show and start dialing up plays to knock Drew Brees out. Look at his history playing against Cam Newton. Rex knows how to keep Cam in the box. And Tampa Bay? Please. That would be like Homecoming."

Scott even has an idea of how Ryan might reshape the roster from a defensive standpoint. The Falcons are in dire need of a facelift after finishing last in the league in yards allowed per game (398.3 ypg) and tied for second-to-last in sacks (22), among other defensive deficiencies.

While in New York, the Jets' defense went from the 16th-ranked group in 2008 to first after Ryan took over in 2009.

"I think a quick fix for that Atlanta defense is [Jets linebacker] David Harris is up for free agency, and Rex has the ability to bring a guy like that over," Scott said. "He has the ability to bring a guy like [Jets linebacker] Calvin Pace over [via trade] who knows the system and lives in Atlanta. He can bring Harris there to run it if [Sean] Weatherspoon can't stay healthy. If Weatherspoon is healthy, you move him to the spot I used to play and David Harris plays his spot.

"[Safety] Dwight Lowery is already there and he was born and raised in the system, so I think you'll get more out of that player. But then Rex probably has the ability as well to bring a guy like [Cardinals cornerback] Antonio Cromartie to come over opposite Desmond Trufant and slide right in and get instant experience within the defense overnight."

Scott even sees a place for Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai in Ryan's multiple scheme with 3-4 and 4-3 concepts. Remember, the Falcons invested $25 million guaranteed to sign Jackson and Soliai as free agents last season.

"Paul Soliai becomes Haloti Ngata or Kris Jenkins and Tyson Jackson becomes Mike DeVito," Scott said. "I can't say Tyson becomes Mo Wilkerson because he doesn't have the pass-rush ability. So you move Tyson over. Rex also has the ability to bring over a guy like [Jets nose tackle] Kenrick Ellis that can come over and slice Tyson Jackson to that stud end, that Mike DeVito-type end, to the formation. Then Rex just has to find a slippery guy like a Wilkerson who he can move inside. The parts that he needs are available and out there."

Of course, the Falcons are expected to target pass-rushers via free agency and the draft. Ryan, who started in the league as a defensive line coach, understands the importance of stockpiling pass-rushers.

Scott would say Ryan also understands the significance of a solid offense despite what critics might think.

"People always say he doesn't pay attention to offense but he just allows his guys to do their jobs," Scott said. "You think John Fox is going over there and saying, 'Hey Peyton [Manning], run this'? He's a defensive guy. But I guarantee he's going into the defensive room saying, 'Hey, you've got to play this technique.

"You think about a team like the Atlanta Falcons and the last time Rex's defensive system was paired with an offense with capabilities was the 2006 season when we had Steve McNair for the first time. That defense put 60 sacks up, struck fear in anybody in the NFL. Rex has never had a quarterback [as a head coach]. He's never had an offense. He's never had a veteran quarterback."

Rex Ryan would inherit a pretty accomplished one in Matt Ryan, who has passed for more than 4,000 yards each of the last four seasons and has completed 66 percent of his passes or better the past three years. In six seasons with the Jets, Ryan never had a quarterback complete better than 56.7 percent of passes in a season.

"Without a great quarterback, Rex was able to go to two AFC championships," Scott said. "So you give him a quarterback and just imagine how perennial a winner the Atlanta Falcons could be. Just imagine if you give the Falcons a couple of drafts and couple free agents what Rex could do with leads as far as terrorizing that division."

Falcons fans C-A-N-T W-A-I-T to see if it comes to fruition.